The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: MGM - 1987
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 96 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/Portuguese/Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1, French/German/Italian DTS 5.1, English Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, Italian, Hungarian, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Portuguese, German
Starring: Mel Brooks, Bill Pullman, John Candy, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, Rick Moranis, George Wyner, Joan Rivers
Directed by: Mel Brooks
Music by: John Morris
Written by: Mel Brooks, Thomas Meehan, and Ronny Graham
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 16, 2009
"May the Schwartz be with you"
The farce is with you in this "uproarious salute to science fiction" (The Hollywood Reporter) that teams comedy legend Mel Brooks with an all-star cast of cutups including John Candy (Splash), Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters) and Bill Pullman (Ruthless People)! When the evil Dark Helmet (Moranis) attempts to steal all the air from planet Druidia, a determined Druish Princess (Daphne Zuniga), a clueless rogue (Pullman) and a half-man/half-dog creature who's his own best friend (Candy) set out to stop him! But with the forces of darkness closing in on them at ludicrous speed, they'll need the help of a wise imp named Yogurt (Brooks) and the mystical power of "The Schwartz" to bring peace and merchandising rights to the entire galaxy!
Spaceballs is one of the best if not arguably the best sci-fi parody film ever and who better than the masterful Mel Brooks to create such a gem. Spaceballs pokes harmless and hysterical fun at George Lucas original Star Wars trilogy however there are references to other sci-fi classics/films as well. The film follows fearless and clueless space heroes Lone Starr and his man-dog hybrid, sidekick Barf as they wage interstellar warfare to free Princess Vespa from the evil clutches of Dark Helmet and his air stealing minions. This is Mel Brooks at his best and the clever dialogue, intelligent manipulation, and original spin on the thematic Star Wars elements are proof positive of his creativity and mastery. Today's attempts at the film parody pale by comparison which makes film's like this all the more appreciated. Those who are intimately familiar with the film love to quote some of its classic lines of which there are many. Looking at the story, much of it is preposterous, however this works perfectly within the scope of it caricature. The humor can be impetuous, flagrant yet subtle, and typically over top which is where it charm lies. While there are aspects of this film that feel dated it retains much of its intrinsic value. It has been years since I have seen it but watching it brought back most of the memorable moments and funny lines. What a great cast. Brooks of course plays multiple roles (Yogurt and President Skroob), Second City alums Rick Moranis and the late great John Candy, George Wyner, Joan Rivers (voice) and relative new comers Bill Pullman and Daphne Zuniga. This is a classic Mel Brooks comedy that is loved by many. The included bonus supplements are the same as those found on the 2005 collector's edition DVD. The Mel Brooks commentary (a little dry at times but worth it), Spaceballs documentary and John Candy tribute piece are truly excellent. I had a blast during this revisit and am so glad that MGM has brought it to Blu-ray Disc. May the Schwartz be with you.
The rating is for language, rude/suggestive humor and thematic elements.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Spaceballs comes to Blu-ray Disc from MGM featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate 3.7 mbps.
This 1.85:1 framed high definition presentation has never seen this film looking better on home video. Blacks are punchy with appreciable dynamic range that makes them pop while onscreen with both light and dark elements. Skin tones have good tonal depth, delineated highlights and lifelike texture. Color balance is good as both primary and secondary hues aren't overly vibrant but are cleanly rendered with a pleasing level of saturation and depth. Resolution and clarity is estimable although sharpness can be a bit inconsistent. This appears innate and generally affects sequences which include special effects shots. Shadow detail isn't definitive but depth of field during low level segments is satisfactory. I didn't see any signs of the application of unwanted noise reduction or excessive manipulation. Images are well resolved with discernible definition and fair rendering of fine detail during close up and mid level camera pans. Grain is rendered in fine, even layers that can become more noticeable against dark backgrounds. I never found it to be objectionable. I noticed some banding that was visible against the bright background sky during the exterior scenes on the desert moon. The print contains a few minor speckles and debris but its presence doesn't rise to an intrusive level. Those minor quibbles aside I thought this was a solid encoding that appeared to faithfully represent this film.
The lossless DTS-HD MA audio presentation sounded great. I found the level audible detail to be impressive. The recording's elements have a somewhat dated quality however sounds are reproduced with defining clarity and good dynamic range. The front soundstage has excellent dimension with discernible channel separation and crisp, descriptive dialogue that is always intelligible. Surround activity is frequent and offers good front to rear balance that integrates panning sequences and provides an open aural environment. The result is a stable and fairly enveloping soundfield that allows the blend of music and sound effects to be clearly articulated. Bass response added good solidity and palpable presence that enhanced the soundtrack without sounded bloated or pumped up. I was very happy with the quality of the sound mix.
- Commentary by Mel Brooks
- Spaceballs: the documentary - 30 minutes
- In conversation: Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan - 20 minutes
- John Candy: Comic spirit - 10 minutes
- Watch the movie in ludicrous speed
- Still galleries
- Trailers - Exhibitor trailer with Mel Brooks Intro and Theatrical trailer
- Film flubs - 6 outtakes
- Storyboard to film comparison
- Bonus DVD copy of Spaceballs - flipper style with widescreen/standard (4:3) versions + extras
There isn't much to else to be said. Spaceballs is a comedy classic that should have a place in every genre/Mel Brooks fan's collection. Its presentation on Blu-ray Disc from MGM is clearly superior to any previous home video release. The decision to upgrade will depend on how much you enjoy watching it and which version you currently own. If you already own the collector's edition you won't gain any new bonus features here. If you own the original 2000 release this is an easier sell. For diehard fans it's a no brainer either way. I am glad to add it to my collection and highly recommend that you do the same. Enjoy!
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JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
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APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package